On my recent visit to Bnei Akiva camp, I had a fabulous conversation with one particular 13-year-old. We were sitting at lunch on the same table. With myself being one of the few adults over the age of 22 in the vicinity, I imagine that he assumed I knew a little about life, and so he asked me a question:
"What is life insurance?"
Now, I have to say that I was more than a little surprised by this of all questions coming like a flash out of the blue. I mean, we were sitting in a rather raucous Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall) in a random field somewhere in Kent. Life insurance seemed quite far from everything around. But I answered him, and explained what life insurance is in a sort of basic way.
And then I asked him why he was interested in life insurance. He answered:
"Well, I was thinking... because, y'see, I have insurance on my laptop, and if it breaks they fix it for free. So I was wondering, what is life insurance?"
And I thought; what stunning logic! I love the way these children's brains function.
And here we are, approaching Chodesh Elul and the 40 days that lead up to Yom Kippur, the 40 day period of God's grace and our personal introspection, Teshuva, and improvement.
We all want life insurance. On Rosh Hashanna we ask, "Who will live and who will die?" We all want life. We want to somehow security taht we will be signed and sealed for a good year. How can we ensure this? We are not laptops! We cannot pay a monthly fee to be fixed, to be refurbished. No! Our life insurance - that which will keep us living a quality, meaningful existence in this world - is when we go to work on ourselves. Only through sincere and contrite self-examination and personal control can we restore our factory settings! If we desire life, it isn't $29:99/month, but hard work on our personality, our bad habits and failures. Through Teshuva we receive assurance of life.